With the growing challenges facing businesses, it can be too easy for leaders to lose focus of their employees as they channel their resources into getting closer to customers.
But, as Olivier Camino, Sitel Group’s Global Chief Operating Officer, points out: “If a company wants to make sure they offer customers an engaging, emotional experience, then they need to start by looking at their associate experience.”
Boosting associate engagement is the only way to deliver an emotional customer experience
“We are all customers,” Olivier Camino reminded the audience. “As customers, we want to be treated as individuals.”
This growing need to ensure a truly personal experience is happening at the same time that technology is disrupting customer relations. Today, the interactions agents are having around the moment of truth have never been more complex, in terms of the number of channels involved as well as the issues needing resolution.
This means the only way an associate will be able to deliver that human, engaging, emotionally enhanced and crucially differentiated customer experience, is if that person genuinely feels central to the company’s success.
Why working together has to be more than a motto
To emphasize just how much our group values these associates’ abilities, at every senior level of Sitel Group, people listen to agents’ calls.
“Even our board meetings begin with a session where we listen to calls,” Olivier Camino revealed.
This enterprise-wide initiative, called I Do My Walking Management, involves all our managers, operational and functional supports, sitting beside agents, doing focus groups, attending training sessions and actively listening to and supporting calls.
It also helps management maintain complete visibility and approachability on the contact center floor, walking the aisles ready to offer help, support and encouragement. As such, it is already proving to Sitel’s frontline associates that they’re at the heart of the company’s culture and that, in Oliver Camino’s words: “Our promises and our actions are in complete alignment.”
A crucial transformation for cutting our silos
But this is just one of several groundbreaking initiatives Sitel Group has recently introduced. During his keynote – The Digital Employee Experience from End to End – Olivier Camino offered the audience a guide to how the organization he co-founded has walked the talk on this crucially important element of delivering outsourced customer experience.
It’s all a result of taking a holistic approach to understanding, recognizing and implementing a complete associate transformation.
It’s an approach that began by building a transformational committee filled with experts from across the entire group recruited from IT, Marketing, Communication, Operations and from each of Sitel Group’s ventures to eliminate any possibility of a siloed approach.
“If you work only within your scope, there is a risk that you know only what you know,” explained Olivier Camino about the methodology. “It has to be cross functional. This approach has helped to put the candidate and the associate at the center, not the systems.”
How to transform the employee experience
It’s a transformational approach that will never officially end – Olivier Camino describes it as, “a continuous journey and a continuous conversation we want to have with our associates.” Even so, it is one that is already enabling the group to eliminate a host of internal pain points.
For example, it has cut the recruitment process for new contact center associates from days to hours. As Olivier Camino explains, before, Sitel was focused on following systems: “We had 14 different points of contact on the recruitment journey.”
Today, moving the focus squarely to the associate, the company has revolutionized the hiring process. The platform that will enable this new approach is going live before the end of the year and will ensure the group is always ready to meet its clients’ staffing and ramp-up needs, focusing more on soft skills than resumes.
As part of this initiative, the group has also introduced a MOOC called CX 101, developed in-house by Learning Tribes, Sitel Group’s learning and development company. It allows applicants to start training as contact center associates before they officially apply for a job.
Engaging with an increasingly millennial workforce
In addition to processes and systems, as a result of this genuine transformation, Sitel Group has realigned its language and channels of engagement to meet the expectations of the next generation of associates.
“The profile of the agent is changing,” said Olivier Camino. “There is a greater focus on soft skills and on being able to create an emotional interaction with the customer.”
This is happening while there is a generational shift in the job market. “Millennials are digital, they’re on social media,” says Olivier Camino. “We need to be where our future associates are.”
In order to recruit the top talent of the future, Sitel Group has developed three social media hubs –for the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Each of them is helping to appeal to and identify people that will be a good fit for the company, while reducing the cost per lead.
What’s more, this increased social media presence gives visitors insights into Sitel Group itself – its company values, its brand language and a taste of what it would be like to be part of the organization – in a format they find engaging. This is also why it’s crucial that the insights delivered, in social messages and short video clips come directly from other associates – emphasizing authenticity and starting to build trust before the first official interaction.
To get a better sense of the transformation Sitel Group is going through, watch Olivier Camino’s Sitel Summit keynote in the video below.